Take a look:
The Obama Energy Department's $529 million loan guarantee to the maker of the Fisker Karma electric sports car, which is creating 500 "green" jobs -- in Finland -- is crony capitalism at its worst.Keep in mind what your impression of the Fisker loan when you read the facts behind this story.
Company founder Henrik Fisker told ABC News the 2009 loan went toward U.S. engineering and design work. But 500 assembly jobs are being outsourced to Finland -- because no U.S. contractor "could actually produce our vehicle."
First let's look at that loan. The Department of Energy says:
Fisker Automotive closed a $529 million loan arrangement under the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program for the development and production of two lines of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The project is expected to create about 2,000 jobs in Wilmington, Delaware.When we start to dig, we learn some interesting stuff. For instance, the money comes from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (a program, by the way, that was funded in the Fall of 2008) and if you were to search for the details Scaife's braintrust casually filtered out for you, you'll see that there were legal limits as to where the money could be used. From the DOE:
Congress set forth the criteria for projects and costs eligible to receive direct loans. The key criteria for qualified advanced technology vehicles or qualified components require:See that? Did you see that the loan was for two lines of hybrids? Does the DOE have any details about this other line or how this money will be used? I am so glad you asked because yes, it does:
- Manufacturing facilities be located in the U.S.;
- Engineering integration be performed in the U.S.;
- Costs be reasonably related to the reequipping, expanding, or establishing a manufacturing facility in the U.S.; and
- Costs of engineering integration be performed in the U.S.
In the first stage of the program, Fisker Automotive will use a $169.3 million ATVM loan for engineering integration costs as it works with primarily U.S. suppliers to complete the company's first vehicle, the Fisker Karma. Engineers will also design tools and equipment and develop manufacturing processes. This work will be conducted at Fisker's Pontiac, Michigan office with support from its headquarters in Irvine, California. While the final assembly of the Karma will be done overseas, more than 65 percent (based on cost) of the parts required for Karma will come from U.S. suppliers. The four-door Karma is scheduled to appear in showrooms in summer 2010.So only $169.3 million will be going to the Karma project and none of that for the manufacturing plant in Finland. And as for the reason why Fisker found now US manufacturer for the Karma? The Detroit Free Press reported:
The second stage includes a $359.36 million ATVM loan for Fisker's Project Nina, involving the manufacture of a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. Fisker estimates that up to 75,000-100,000 of these highly efficient vehicles will roll off assembly lines in the U.S. every year beginning in late 2012. The combined projects are anticipated to create thousands of jobs in the U.S. and provide substantial support for domestic parts suppliers saving or creating approximately 5,000 jobs.
Fisker spokesman Will Powell said the company was unable to find an automaker in the U.S. willing to contract to produce the small run of cars -- 8,000 a year -- of the $96,000 plug-in hybrid Karma.Isn't it interesting to see what the braintrust filters out for you?
Something else they filtered out for you:
A Fisker-backing venture capital firm's partners include former Vice President Al Gore and major Democrat donor John Doerr, according to The National Center for Public Policy Research.Yes....the National Center for Public Policy Research. You do know that they're the beneficiary of about $1 million of Scaife foundation money, right? Interesting thing to leave out when you're doing a "follow the money" argument.
Now go back and reread what the braintrust wrote. Is it an accurate assessment of reality considering all the details they filtered out for you?
This is how the Scaife braintrust works.